This entry could also have been titled "Off Day Prospect Talk: All-Star edition" (though it involves prospects of a different type) or "FishStripes and SBNation Redefine Internet Dating" but the title is related to last week's trip instead.
As much as I have been looking forward to the opportunity to write this entry, I'm also dreading it. I know that I'm incapable of doing this story justice, and for that I'm disappointed in myself. I also built this story up too much relative to what I'm actually going to deliver here today - so in that sense it may be something of a disappointment.
The story is a great one, if only because of the amazing person that it involves, but to tell it completely would require me to put my entire personal life on the Internet - and, more imporantly, hers too - which would probably doom my fate. This story is also one that will probably have to wait to be written online until it has been written and lived out in real life. Fortunately we're not at the end of the story yet.
This entry will be long. I will ramble. There will be little baseball talk. Because of all of that, we'll use the "read more" link (see below) so that those of you who aren't interested can skip right over this story and focus on the baseball talk (but if you do, I don't want to hear any complaints down the road about how you think I play favorites with Ichthyomancy - I don't, and this is my attempt to explain that).
Where should I start? I suppose the beginning is the best place.
Back in October of 2003, I decided to start up my own blog. I'd been reading various blogs for awhile, but I found that three of my favorite things weren't blogged about very often: the White Sox, the Hurricanes, and the Marlins. As an added bonus, the Marlins were in the playoffs at the time, so starting a blog back then afforded me the opportunity to generate some traffic.
I didn't start the blog to get traffic though. I mainly started it to work on my writing. Off and on I've kept a journal over the years - not about anything personal - just about whatever was going on so that I'd retain some form of penmanship and retain some ability to write more than a business email or a PowerPoint slide. Having a blog doesn't help with the penmanship, and I'd guess that many of you feel I'm not capable of much more than a bullet anyway, but by blogging for the past year and a half I've at least forced myself to write somewhat regularly.
So where is this going? This story isn't so great so far you say? Stay with me - it's going somewhere (but it probably, like you've grown to become accustomed to here, won't be great).
The side benefits to having a blog have been plentiful. At first I thought I'd just write. I didn't realize anyone would read. But people read. I started getting email from readers. Some people hated me. Some people wrote nice emails. Some people asked questions. Some people wanted fantasy baseball advice. Others offered me large Nigerian fortunes (never post your email address on the Internet).
Some folks even wrote me to buy ad space. That was really nice, as it's not as cheap or as easy to run Club Mike as you might think. We've got bills to pay, women to entertain, and bartenders' kids to put through school (via tips).
Even better than that are some of the people that I've met - at least virtually, through the site. As we come up on two years in this blog-game, I'm fairly convinced that I've met both of the other Marlins-White Sox fans. I'm think there are only three of us in the universe. One of those people is me, another is Carolina (a regular on this site), and the third is someone who emails me regularly. He even grew up in the same small town on the South Side of Chicago that my father did (although they were a decade or two apart in doing so). So having this blog has helped me to realize what a small world we live in - particularly in the blogosphere.
Now I've skipped over it, but the story has really started (with the young lady mentioned above). I'm not going to get into all the details; if I attempted to, I wouldn't do the story justice, which wouldn't be fair to her. Also, telling the story in detail would probably jinx the relationship, and I definitely don't want to do that (and to make something of a baseball tie-in here: I'm not supersitious or anything, but some things are just bad luck).
The short version of the story is that through this site (and the old site), I've met an amazing woman. Even more than that, I've found an amazing girlfriend (she might even be willing to own up to having a boyfriend who writes for this site and lives in Miami).
The tie in to the recent FishStripes' trip to New York is that Carolina and I were finally able to spend some time together (in addition to the one date we had in Miami last month - which some of you caught on to). Prior to that I thought that I might have found something special in Carolina (or, more accurately, that someone special may have found her way to me), but neither of us could really be sure.
But after surviving getting lost somewhere between Newark and Montclair on our way to a movie last weekend, and after having a great time watching fireworks together in Denville, New Jersey, we decided to make a go of this long distance thing. We'll see where it goes from here.
(And for those of you concerned as to whether this will have any impact on Ichthyomancy, I can assure you that it won't. Carolina has assured me that she will win, but that she will do so on the up and up. She wants no favoritism in the scoring - only to beat all of us into submission.)